Norwich duo lead Romanian worship academy
A Norwich Christian couple have spent part of the last four years leading an innovative academy to train church worship leaders in Romania. Aaron Curran reports.
Mark and Susan Watson (pictured right), from City Church in Norwich, have helped to train no fewer than 60 worship leaders over the past four years as hosts of the Romanian Worship Academy.
Worship Academy was first set up in 2002 in the UK by singer/ songwriters Chris Bowater and Andy Bromley with the aim of ‘building people’, seeing people equipped for ministry and developing worship lifestyle and Godly character. It was four years later that Worship Academy spread overseas birthing an academy in Romania.
The first two-year course started in 2006 with the English team flying out for eight teaching weekends. The English team working in Romania was lead by Mark and Susan.
Speaking about the role, Mark said: “As hosts, our role was to help with the organisation and smooth running of the weekends, including arranging sessions to be taught, guest speakers, teams for practical workshops, as well as teaching subjects ourselves, hosting the weekends and sessions, and generally seeing that the core vision and ethos of a worship lifestyle was communicated from start to finish.”
The second two-year course started in 2008 and finished in April this year. In total, over 60 people have graduated in the four-year period that the academy has been running in Romania.
Mark, also Assistant Minister and regular worship leader of City Church added: “Each year the students had to present a personal journal of their journey so far. This was a real opportunity to see and hear what God had been doing in the lives of the students. Most of these sessions had us in tears, listening to the stories of transformation and change in the lives of individuals. Greater still was to hear of the change that was being witnessed in the churches of some of the students; some church situations which were historically far from being ‘free’ in the area of worship. We feel very humbled, yet honoured that God is doing such a great work.”
Mark and Susan’s time in Romania did come to a disappointing end when the volcanic ash chaos prevented the UK team from attending the graduation of the second course. The event was successfully run however by the team in Romania. This also completed the heart of the UK team to give more responsibility to the Romanian team and the third academy which commences in early 2011 will be mainly run by the Romanian team with the UK team providing support where needed.
Worship Academy is currently running in Romania, Portugal, Ireland and Singapore as well as running courses in the UK.